radical response (chapter 1)

Last night, sometime after midnight, I turned off my computer, walked upstairs, and flipped on the hall light so I could check on our girlies before heading to bed. It’s a little ritual I’ve done since forever, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

I typically touch each one of them on whichever body part I can reach (the three of them share two twin beds). It’s not a superstitious thing–I just like to touch sleeping children. Sometimes I’ll squeeze bare toes peeking out of a blanket or kiss a forehead flushed with sleep-sweat. And sometimes I’ll be caught off guard by the emotion that surges up inside my chest, and tears will spring to my eyes.

Last night was one of those times.

I fingered a stray blond ringlet and thought, “Could I really follow Jesus wherever he asks me to go, even if it means losing this precious little girl?”

I could hardly breathe for the pain in my chest, and that’s when I knew. I’m not as radical as I think I am.

Oh, I’m more radical than I was yesterday. More radical than before I went to Cambodia in July. More radical than at least 60% of you (ha!). But wow. I’ve got a long journey ahead of me.

I can’t help but think of Pastor (he has a name, but everyone just calls him Pastor), a short-statured, huge-hearted Cambodian man who lives with his wife and not-yet-2-year-old son in one of the hardest places to live in all of Southeast Asia. A hub for child trafficking, a playground for unspeakable evil. He lives right in the middle of it all and preaches Jesus and models Jesus and radically abandons all safety and comfort that little ones might be rescued and that pimps and brothel owners might come to Christ.

Pastor made such a huge impact on me when we visited his village that I still don’t have words for it two months later. I couldn’t listen to him without crying as he told story after story of people coming to his clinic desperate for relief from their pains and illnesses. “I give them multi-vitamin and Jesus,” he would say with his mile-wide grin. “When no other doctor or hospital or medicine could help, Jesus healed them.”

And then he told us how he preaches to the 300+ people who find their way to his church and tells them, “Your children are a gift from God. They are not like animals. They are not to be sold.” And then he tells the brothel owners who have also come, “You are doing a very bad thing. If you want to follow Jesus, you must stop what you are doing and live how he wants you to live.”

Can you imagine?

I don’t necessarily think God is calling me to pastor a church in Cambodia (although I wouldn’t put it past him to call Gabe…). I just know that in some way, shape, or form, that what Pastor has? That’s what I want for my life.

I don’t know how many more of my possessions God wants me to sell/give away. I don’t know what it means when Jesus tells us we have to hate our parents and spouse and kids. I don’t know if we’re supposed to live radically in Columbus, OH or take our Radical Freak Show on the road or around the globe. I don’t know if it’s okay to drink Starbucks coffee (or eat Pei Wei) when 26,000 kiddos are dying every day.

I don’t know if it’s pointless to talk to groups of women about sex or parenting or even finding rest in God when BILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE LOST.

I don’t know how to respond in 800 words to a chapter that rocked my world every other paragraph.

And that’s why I’m so thankful for all of you. I’m counting on you to stand in the gap for me. To answer all my questions and fill in all my blanks and elaborate and extrapolate where I just can’t.

Didn’t know what you were signing up for, did you?

I’ll probably end up “cheating” and writing blog posts on my thoughts on Chapter 1 at least once (and maybe more) in the days to come. I just can’t go back to business as usual after the mess God is making of my heart.

So, go ahead and link to your awesome posts about Chapter 1. (And don’t forget to include a link to this post in your own post, so your readers can read what others have written, if they’re so inclined.) I’m going to click on every single one of them and read every single word if it takes me until October.

If you don’t have a blog but want to share your thoughts in the comments, HAVE AT IT. And if you want a smidge of direction, here are a couple questions to get you started:

1. “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple,” says Jesus. What in the world are we supposed to think about this??

2. How have you been molding Jesus into your image (lately or your whole life)?

Thank you sooooo much to everyone who is investing time and energy into reading this book and responding! I’ve already witnessed some amazing things–all glory to God! If you don’t have a book yet and want to join us, it’s NEVER too late!! Just catch up as you can!

131 thoughts on “radical response (chapter 1)

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  6. Amber

    Um, WOW! I can’t put this book down! I already know I’m going to want to read it again. So powerful and convicting. So true. I loved the contrast between the church in Asia and the multi-million dollar churches that we have in the U.S. They truly risk their lives to worship Christ and we throw on jeans and show up late with our lattes. Not that jeans and lattes are bad…just like Platt said, “we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable”. And how powerful to think that we are rearranging Jesus into our image, the image of one who doesn’t judge, who doesn’t condemn, who is easy. When in reality, he is SO much more than that.

    He does call us to be different, to be radical. But I know that I am not. I know that I am more radical than some, and much less radical than others! I want to be more like Christ. To be more radical. Sigh. This morning at church I felt like God was telling me to give up something VERY superficial and VERY frivolous and to give that money to others. And as I sat in the service, I argued with God about my need to give up that SILLY, vain thing. And I’m ashamed to say it was HARD to say yes. Because it is something I love, and something I think that “I deserve”. But I am submitting, I am saying yes on this very small thing…in hopes that I will be able to more easily give up or change my life on the next thing He convicts me of. So, no, I am not yet radical…but maybe on my way?

  7. Diane Olson

    I am having trouble processing the first chapter and all the comments. I guess Todd Agnew’s song, “My Jesus,” accurately states my case: MORE THAN ANYTHING, I WANT TO BE LIKE JESUS!! But, what am I willing to sacrifice my comfort to be like him???
    Which Jesus do you follow? Which Jesus do you serve?
    If Ephesians says to imitate Christ Then why do you look so much like the world?
    Cause my Jesus bled and died He spent His time with thieves and liars
    He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant So which one do you want to be?
    Blessed are the poor in spirit or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land? Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand?
    Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins. He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars. He loved the poor and accosted the rich. So which one do you want to be?
    Who is this that you follow, this picture of the American dream? If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side or fall down and worship at His holy feet?
    Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion … Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins? But the Word says He was battered and scarred
    or did you miss that part? Sometimes I doubt we’d recognize Him.
    Cause my Jesus bled and died He spent His time with thieves and the least of these. He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable So which one do you want to be?
    Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church The blood and dirt on His feet would stain the carpet. But He reaches for the hurting and despised the proud. I think He’d prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd.
    And I know that He can hear me if I cry out loud I want to be like my Jesus! I want to be like my Jesus! Not a posterchild for American prosperity, but like my Jesus. You see I’m tired of living for success and popularity. I want to be like my Jesus but I’m not sure what that means to be like You Jesus, cause You said to live like You, love like You, but then You died for me. Can I be like You Jesus? I want to be like my Jesus!

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  9. Liz

    I was reading John this morning and thought I would share this scripture with you.

    Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work. John 4:34

    That is pretty clear. I want to be more like Jesus. I say that as I prepare to go to Starbucks for a too expensive coffee and breakfast sandwich. I want Jesus’ will to be my food not Starbucks. I am so glad He loves me so much even though He knows everything about me. I love unconditional love. I love Jesus.

  10. Kathleen-NM

    This book has been so powerful, thank you Marla for launching this gathering. I will post later. I have decided to ask for Christmas that my family read through this with me. I have asked my husband of 20 years, and sons 16 and 13 that we would read and digest one chapter at a time and that at the end our reading, our celebration would end in a different, prayerful type of giving. This would be radical. I love what God is doing.

    I am undone…

    I am reading, praying, seeing more clearly.

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  12. Patty

    I haven’t written my post yet, but the “radical” things that God is doing in our little church would blow you away. He is showing us (my preacher-husband and I) how He is able to deal when Satan tries to stop a God-Explosion.

  13. Dorian

    Take Jesus at His word. Trust and obey. I was very high on a ladder this morning and I thought about how stable I was, but that if there was an earthquake – certainly a rarity in central ohio – I would be in trouble. Then I was thankful for and fearful of gravity at the same time. Thankful it was keeping me on the ladder, but fearful if I were to be shaken off. I started to think, “why don’t I believe that Jesus is FOR me as much as I believe that gravity is going to keep on being gravity?” I need to be less and less surprised that Jesus has my back and more certain of it.

  14. Pete Ahlstrom

    It’s so good to see how rapidly the number of books on one part or another of “loving our neighbors” is increasing! Thank God! I grew up in churches that were very excellent at loving God, and teaching us to do that. But somehow we almost completely forgot to learn what “loving our neighbors” meant in the Bible. All of us. I was a Bible College librarian for eight years, and never once – not ONCE – saw a book on loving our neighbors. But in the last few years that’s changed radically.

    I finally did my own Bible study on it (and ended up with about 3,500 or so verses, which shows how important God thinks it is). But lacking the money to publish it right now, we’ve put it up on our family web site instead. (Which, for now, means you can read it free – just click on my name if it should interest you).

    God bless this blog and help you spread His word.

  15. joyce

    I did not post a blog about Chapter 1. My head is swirling as is my heart and I just cannot put my thoughts into a coherent post.

    I am a person who tends to say whatever pops into my head and I have really felt God telling me this past year to be more still, to listen more, to meditate and pray about things before I just spew out my thoughts. But I am thinking a lot about all I have read and am working my way thru the posts and comments.

    I mentioned Radical in a post I wrote on Sunday
    ( http://joyce-fromthissideofthepond.blogspot.com/2010/09/thoughts-on-weekend-getting-older-and.html )

    and my hubs read it and came home and said, ‘So, what are you wanting to do? Give all our money away?” He laughed. I said, “Well, not ALL of it.”

    The thing is I’m not sure how I’m being called to live radically but it is something I’m hoping to figure out…What is God calling me to do at this moment in time? Today? This week? This year? This empty nest stage of life? And I think if we don’t ask that question then we will surely never know the answer. The book is definitely thought provoking.

    I know the author is trying to make a point but sometimes as I read I feel like grace is missing. I know he is saying that we’ve perhaps run too far the other way and focused totally on the grace aspect and not enough on the heart changing obedience that grace is supposed to create in us but I never want to underestimate God’s amazing grace or add my own stuff to it in any way. I’m not saying Platt has done that but it is something that has niggled at the back of my mind as I’ve been reading.

    Thanks for hosting and allowing comments to flow back and forth. I really enjoy the clarity of thought some people are able to express when talking about the first chapter. I still feel quite a jumbled mess.

    1. Amber

      Joyce- I can so identify with your questions about HOW am I being called to live radically? I feel like I am being called…just not sure how/where yet. Maybe by the end of this book we will know! 🙂

  16. lithoboy

    Marla,

    Beautiful story but one part made me sad. I know that most in Christianity believe it too which makes me very sad because scripture tells a much greater story.

    Regarding “BILLIONS ARE LOST”. While yet true, take heart knowing that God will not rest until each and every one of his lost sheep are found. I know it makes me a heritic to believe it but once my eyes were opened to the truth it became so clear. Scripturally, Biblically True. 1 Timothy 4:10 says so, 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 lays out gods plan including vs 22 which states ALL will be made alive, but each in their own order. We believe now, eventually, all will believe and be saved. Radical, I know.

    Try and disprove it like I did! Dig into the word like you’ve never done before. There are traslation errors (aionian > forever) that have clouded the truth. Dig, search, pray for the truth. I pray that you may discover what I did. And how much more now do I love my Heavenly Father, his Son (our savior), and all those around us. God Bless You!

    1. Dorian

      I take great comfort in 2 Pet 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

      It is God’s desire that we all turn to Him and be saved; that no one should perish. That being said, I don’t understand the Bible to teach that none shall fall and all will eventually be saved.

      Jesus warned that few would find their way to heaven in Matt 7:13,14 – “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

      And I don’t think Jesus was just spinning His wheels in the parable of the sheep and goats in Matt 24 – “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

      1 Tim 4:10 and 1 Cor 15:20-28 that you cite say that all IN CHRIST are saved. Hallelujah! But I don’t see anything in scripture that says that all have (billions are dead) and will (billions still alive) repent and BE IN CHRIST.

      I know we both join God in 2 Pet 3:9 and want that none should perish.

      Blessings.

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  18. Erika

    So I’m new around these parts — this blog, I mean, but just in preparing for the Radical Read along, I already feel like I fit right in! I had big plans to “post early” on this one, but you know how life is … and then, when I sit down to write, oh, what a nightmare! I had so much trouble putting into words all of the various thoughts, feelings, etc. that were wreaking havoc in my mind and heart! I’m thankful I was faithful in posting — in a way, that’s radical for me. I almost gave up. That’s what I do. When I don’t think I can do something as well as I’d like, I run … procrastinate, avoid, skip altogether! But I did it. It’s up. And now I am so looking forward to reading through all (I’m gonna try!) of the comments and other posts. I’ve already been encouraged by the few I peeked at just now. 🙂

    Thanks for hosting this, Marla. It’s nice to meet you. I think if I knew you in real life, we’d be friends. 🙂

    Praying for God to do big things in all of us!
    Erika

    1. Marla Taviano

      I think it’s really, really encouraging to see other people having a hard time figuring it all out and articulating it too. Gives you the oomph to keep trucking. I like you too, Erika. 🙂

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  20. Lee

    This first chapter was very thought provoking…Jesus lived in black and white….you were all in or you where out…there weren’t so many shades of gray…It is mind boggling to think of 12 men today, dropping their jobs, their family and suffer certain persecution to follow Him….how he much have touched their hearts when He spoke and their conviction must have been so strong…

    I think Jesus has been Americanized and changed to fit our religious part of the rest of our lives…I think about the radical Jesus in this chapter and the Jesus we think of today…we fit Him in sometimes according to our schedules….my Jewish friend likes to say that He was a great teacher….but that was never who He said He was….she has changed Him into what she can live with and still do what she wants to do (she converted for marriage)….I look forward to thinking and talking more about this radical Jesus and the reality of what He wants from his disciples…I can’t help but wonder, if we were reduced to our lowest terms…basic food, water and shelter on an island where living was surviving, would we be more apt to be radical? Is is our stuff and our multitasking and our expectations that keep us in the gray area? Good chapter…lots to think about

    1. Amber

      s is our stuff and our multitasking and our expectations that keep us in the gray area?

      Good question…and what “stuff” is He asking us/going to ask us to give up so that we can be more radical and less in the gray?

  21. Alicia Parente

    Read Chapter 1. Liked what was written, didn’t like how it made me feel! Platt really drives home the point that Jesus was very clear from the start, that if you follow him, you abandon everything –your needs, desires, family, attachments and even ourselves (page 10) … YIKES!
    Platt asks us to commit to believe and obey what Jesus says, not “Let me hear what you have to say, and then I’ll decide whether or not I like it”. Um. . . I do that! Moving on to Chapter 2!

    1. Ali

      Alicia – We are in the same boat! I really really liked Ch. 1, but at the same time, it made me a bit hesitant to move on to Ch. 2 (and by hesitant, I mean scared). Praying God is doing a good work in me through this radical challenge. (Phil 1:6)

  22. Rikki

    Luke 14:26…I was really stumped by this verse…something I have heard and read since I was a child. I thought it could be hyperbole or it might be helpful to see the actual literal translation. Christ said the greatest commandment is love; (Love God first and then neighbors as ourselves). Such a loose translation of Matthew 22:36-40, sorry. Luke 14:26 says: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple.”
    Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother…”
    To me, Luke 14:26 doesn’t mean that I have to hate my family so much as it means that my love for God needs to be on a much larger scale than my love for my family. I think that is what is radical. As people, as parents, as moms of kids that think we are perfect and know all of the answers. Sometimes we want to reward that with great big love…and that is okay. As long as we remember where our families come from; “Children are a gift from the Lord: they are a reward from Him.” Psalm 127:3

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  24. Mallory

    “Wake up and realize that there are infinitely more important things in your life…Wake up to the countless multitudes who are currently destined for a Christless eternity.” I underlined this when I read it, and tonight the speaker at our campus revival summed up Jonah 4:10-11 as, “You are passionate and care desperately about your comfort. I am passionate about 120,000 people who have nothing apart from Me.” How is it that I give so much thought to my own “needs” or comfort, and not near as much to the lost? How did this happen? What am I going to do about it?

  25. Zach Gifford

    When I read this, my mind went to the Lord of the Rings trilogy (probably because I’m a big nerd.) I don’t know if you’re familiar with the story or not, but I think about the choices Frodo made, and how it affected his friends and those he met; the lives that were changed because of his task. That’s what may happen when we take these Radical steps. The beauty of it is that even though each of Frodo’s friends faced hard times, ultimately they grew stronger, more faithful, and even played an important part in Frodo’s radical task. I guess that would be my prayer for my (and all of our) family and friends throughout this process.

    This will probably be a more well-developed post in the coming days on my blog, but here’s a late night preview.

    1. Mallory

      Okay, I apologize, but I’m not familiar with the Lord of the Rings story (sorry!), but I do like the comparison. Lots of thoughts coming from chapter one, but having an impact on others is definitely desired and should be a natural effect of living radically. Thanks for sharing!

    2. Erika

      Yes, yes, yes! This is something I have thought about a LOT!

      When we have made “radical” choices, I think of the story of Elijah when he challenged the people’s gods–what staunch confidence he had that God WOULD come through—there was NO doubt in his mind, no question, no excuse, no hesitation–oh, to have a faith like that! Our whole desire in our radical decisions can be summed up in Elijah’s prayer there — 1 Kings 18:36-37, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

      We pray that those radical decisions won’t be about us, but for Him and His glory, and that He will use those decisions, use us to stir the hearts of others that they, too, might surrender in radical trust and step out in radical obedience.

      I’ll prob. write more on it, too, and some point! 🙂

      On those same lines (and forgive me that this is getting so long!), one of the things I struggled with big time when we moved to the jungle to do mission work was leaving my family behind. I KNEW that God would protect them, but their skepticism and, dare I say, bitterness??? at us leaving scared me! I wanted God to use this to increase their love and desire for Him, not turn them away. Yet, in those moments of fear and panic (yes, I’m a pleaser who hates to disappoint ANYone!), God brought various verses and authors who spoke wisdom into my situation. Def. a post on that later, too! 🙂

      Thanks for sharing! That was a really long-winded way to say, “I agree!”

  26. Melissa

    1. “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple,” says Jesus. What in the world are we supposed to think about this??
    I think we are supposed to be willing to sacrifice everything…the willingness is the key.

    2. How have you been molding Jesus into your image (lately or your whole life)?

    I struggle with materialism and justify it because it is useful or necessary, and I think I “deserve it.” Lately I am faced with an over accumulation of stuff and what to do with it…do we sell everything (literally everything) and give it to the poor? Do I keep family heirlooms or sell them? Hoping to get answers for this soon.

  27. Jaclyn K

    Let me first say I wanna be Radical. I wanna pursue God the way I pursed my husband or maybe how he pursed me wink wink. I want to be excited to hear Jesus call and willing to leave everything I love to follow him but I just love my little lovebugs so much that life without them isn’t something I even want to let enter my mind. That being said as I read and reread the chapter I began to wonder how radical is it to “committ to believe” or “committ to obey” but in this day and age where we want everything to be quick and easy it really is Radical.I want to fullfil the purpose God has for me and I’m trying to be selfless enough to do it.

    1. Ali

      I love, love, love that we are on this journey together. I am SO darn thankful that our husbands our best friends (let me rephrase that, I’m so darn thankful that your husband is my husband’s only friend.) 😉

  28. Joel McLaughlin

    Marla,

    While I still don’t think I am radical enough and I know I need Jesus, I think you are pretty radical.

    Reason I say this is that you have gotten 43 people to write a post discussing this book and their life in Christ. That is simply amazing to me. Just to get 43 people to do something positive is a great thing.

  29. krisco

    You can’t use the word y’all, Marla. You live north of the Ohio River. I won’t allow you to use it again. Mmmk?

    I think God calls us each to abandon different things for Him. The Holy Spirit (in my opinion) prompts us all of different things at different times. That’s up to Him, not us. The author of this book is obviously called to overseas missions. While we are more than likely all guilty of conforming Jesus to our image than us to His, we have to remember that this book is the author’s response to the Holy Spirit’s convictions. How the Spirit of Conviction fell on him (the author).

    For us, who aren’t perhaps feeling that call (right now) I think it is all about our attitude. Will we still follow Him if he would take one of our kiddos? Will we follow Him to the ends of the earth to share His Gospel should He ask us to? Will we follow Him if He calls us to talk to the co-worker we absolutely can’t stand? And then we pray. We pray that the words of this book will seep into our hearts and brains and we ask the Holy Spirit to convict us and see what radical things start happening in our lives. I believe Radical living will look different for each of us, but will be marked by the same unashamed love of Christ.

    1. Erika

      You hit the nail on the head! You said what I was feeling but couldn’t put into words! I’m ‘amen’ – ing in my chair right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I think people need to hear this as they read the book … our prayer (and I’m sure Platt would agree) is not that people will be guilted into action or persuaded by eloquent words, but rather that the Holy Spirit will work in powerful ways to elicit REAL, lasting change in our hearts. …and we are all on a journey — a journey that looks very differently for each of us.

  30. meghan @ spicy magnolia

    I’m going to be lame this week and not post something on chapter 1. I’m sick again, getting ready to go to my grandfather’s funeral, and my last two posts have taken it out of me. The closest thing I have to give insight into what the Lord is doing in my heart through “Radical” is my last post: http://www.spicymagnolia.com/spicy_magnolia/2010/09/for-his-pleasure.html But I don’t think it warrants a link above. 🙂

    I love your heart, Marla, and Jesus is crazy about you! I think you’re pretty wonderful myself, sister.

  31. Angela

    I think what frustrated me most in reading the first chapter was the impression I got that the author thinks the only “radical” thing to do is move overseas.
    We can live radically here as well. I see it in my family as my husband and I seek to communicate to my in-laws that saving money and being comfortable isn’t the most important thing.
    Sometimes God uses us where we are as well. He doesn’t call everyone to move overseas. Am I horribly selfish for saying that?

    1. Marla Taviano

      Nope, I don’t think you’re selfish. And I know he doesn’t call everyone to move overseas. Or we’d all just be switching countries. 🙂

      I can’t speak for David Platt, but it seems to me that he’s just using the most “extreme” example we can think of. Giving up our stuff and living someplace uncomfortable. He himself doesn’t live overseas. He lives in Alabama.

      1. Zach Gifford

        I was thinking about this very same thing. I can’t possibly imagine that all of us are supposed to move overseas. But what I think the point is that of attitude. Are we willing to give up everything to serve Him? In 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul commanded the Thessalonians to “work in quietness and eat their own bread.” That may not sound radical, but in its own way, I think it is.

  32. sharon

    First, thank you Marla for taking the step and getting people on board. I know that is a hard thing to do and I appreciate your time and total commitment to getting people involved, how awesome! I haven’t finished my chapter, I’m sick but will try to catch up. It is hard for me, my heart always tells me one thing but then I find myself coping out and coming up with great reasons. I read Ali saying she is willing to go where ever God tells her to go and I am a proud mother. But I really want to say go for it, just leave Henry and Harper with oma and opa. How selfish! I have always felt school is my place, I so love the kids but I stay in a box and this chapter is really tugging at my heart to step out much more in my environment. I believe God gives us all special gifts and we are to use them, sometimes I want to think I don’t have that particular gift. This is a reminder that I do!
    Thanks for everything. I have really liked getting to know you and love you, so does Steve!

    1. Ali

      Mom, I love you! I love your insight. I’m so thankful that God made you my mother – it is because of your influence that I have the heart that I do.

  33. Jen C

    So dittoing what everyone else is posting is probably cheating on the read-along. Bummer.

    Recently read Crazy Love, so the first chapter of Radical isn’t really radical, but just another reminder that I am probably anything but. I’ve been wondering if God is calling me to leave my comfort zone or if I am desiring that God pull me from my comfort zone. I guess the outcome is the same, but either prospect is frightening. Kind of like praying for patience. I mean, I need it, but I don’t really want to go through the trials I’d have to in order to get it.

    Our bible study is working through James (see how I think God is up to something because all these things fit so well together.) James writes about perservering through trials by faith in order to grow in our maturity in Christ. Again, something I want, but not sure I want to go through the work in order to grow up.

    Sorry, rambling. Still working through it all.

  34. Marla Taviano

    My friend Tarah wrote this on the Radical Read-Along Facebook Page, and without even asking her permission, I’m posting it here:

    I’ve been praying about this passage and thinking it over ever since you posted this question, Bethany. One thing that has been impressed on my mind is that it is incredibly easy for us to love His blessings (like our kids) more than we love Him. Matt and I have been convicted lately of falling into idolatry this way…..where we begin to focus so much on our family time and kids, that we slowly find ourselves in bondage. Signs of this are when we begin to fear (what if something happened to my kids or family), or we begin to resent things that take us away from our kids or family, etc. I think this comes from the insidious sin of loving the gifts more than the Giver, and not really trusting Him with everything in our life.

    I think we have to also be careful of making our response to this challenge/passage all about our decisions. It’s not so much about our choices of ministry, but more about Jesus Christ being the blazing center (to use a Piper term) and supreme in our affections. Because when that is the case, then we yield to Him in those opportunities and follow His lead. We are willing to do what He asks when he asks it. This is the type of yielded-ness and trust that I believe Jesus desires of us. And I tend to think this is what He is saying.

    But, I am still struggling with the language used in the passage. Hate seems like such a strong word. I’d like to look at the original language and context of the passage more. I’m still working through it.

    1. Kelly S

      I really like the thought in the 2nd paragraph – that we need to be careful of making it all about US rather than all about Jesus.

      My husband and I have been in a frenzy the past few weeks getting rid of stuff from around the house, in the hopes that it will enable us to move into a smaller place and save on rent and give more away, etc. However, I fear that we are maybe getting so preoccupied with that goal that we aren’t really doing it for Jesus anymore… we’re just doing it for the sake of simplifying our lives.

      This is a nice reminder to check my attitude – what are the reasons I am doing these “radical” things? Because if it’s not for Jesus, then maybe it’s not so radical after all…

  35. Nicole Taulman

    I think this is one of the things I’m afraid I am going to be upset with in this book … Is it going to make all of us women feel that the ministry we HAVE been doing is WORTHLESS? I think that my decision to make my home my primary mission field is not more insignificant that going to Cambodia or somewhere else. That’s just not fair.

    1. Marla Taviano

      I can’t imagine God telling us that any/all of our ministries have been worthless up to this point. There are TONS of passages in the Bible that confirm that I’m supposed to be uplifting and edifying and encouraging and teaching younger women and raising my children to love Christ.

      My concern? The 2,000+ verses about caring for/sharing with the poor and oppressed that I’ve been basically ignoring for 34 years.

      I can’t ignore them another minute. Now, how that affects my current ministry and plays out in my life? I don’t know yet.

    2. valerie

      Hi Nicole,
      I wanted to say I think you’re absolutely right. The fact that your home is your primary mission field is NOT less significant than going to Cambodia or anywhere else. What I am taking away from the book is not that if we’re doing ministry in the US (or even just in our homes) that we’re worthless or insignificant. What I’m hearing from it is that it’s all about our heart. That the point is to listen to God and be willing to do whatever He says. To follow Him wherever He leads – whether it be Cambodia or Africa or East L.A. or your own family. As long as our focus truly is on Him and His will and His voice, He may send some to remote parts of the world, and He may tell others “I want you to focus on the mission field that’s under the same roof with you.”

      I think it’s just all about our hearts. Are we content to just go along with the status-quo flow, doing life like everyone else just because it’s easy and the norm? Or are we willing to abandon everything of our own desires for Him?

    3. Bethany Peters

      I think one of the greatest things we can do as mothers is to live out what we’ve been learning in this book in front of our children and inviting them to help us!

      You can have a family yard sale and give away the proceeds to a needy family or to an orphanage overseas (or wherever God leads).

      Your kids can help you make and deliver meals to neighbors, new mothers, etc.

      Your kids can invite their unsaved friends over to your home for a chance to spend time in a loving haven where Christ is modeled in front of them.

      When your children see you live modestly so you can give more away, when they see you opening up your home to strangers, when they see you reading your Bible and praying everyday, when they see you living in complete surrender to the Lord, what better way to minister to your them???

  36. Louisiana Tara

    Marla, my feelings are the same way (and this is my second read-through!!!). But you know what the first step is? KNOWING. Now we know. And now we listen to what and where the Holy Spirit is calling us.

  37. Risha

    My feelings are similar to yours regarding my family. I know the words Jesus spoke about the sacrifices that must be made to be His disciple. But there are also places in the Bible that talk about the importance of training our children to follow after God. My heart has recently become burdened for the ministry I have to my children, and I know this is from Him.
    At this point, God is pressing upon me that I must be *willing* to do what He asks. Maybe this will mean moving away from all my family that we live nearby (within a mile actually) to minister someplace new. Or maybe it will mean giving away everything that I have. Or maybe it will mean staying right where we’re at and getting involved in the outreach of our church. To “hate” everyone else in order to be His disciple means that I put those relationships in proper position compared to my relationship with God. And that’s the first step I need to work on.

  38. Pingback: P2P » Blog Archive » Radical: The Cost of Nondiscipleship

  39. Rachelle

    Marla, thank you for saying what you said about, “I don’t know if it’s okay to drink Starbucks coffee or eat (Pei Wei) when 26,000 kiodos are dying every day.” These are the questions that are in my head and heart all day long. I even dreamt about it last night.

    I have molded Jesus into my image by comparing myself to others and by holding others to the law, while I live under grace. ouch.

  40. Teresa Henry

    My heart is a jumbled and rambling mess! I think God is beaming down on us all for questioning our lifes and what we are doing…I think He is pleased beyond pleased to see us wanting more and wondering how it is going to happen….we are at a place now when He can use us because we are ready to be used by Him…

    http://teresa-henry.blogspot.com/2010/09/radicalcan-i-really-be-radical.html

    God asked me to start a non profit last year…I did…but I have not done anything with it but know I have it on paper that it exsists…and God through this book and through His Word…is asking me to be Radical and go…but I don’t know how and the fear in me for not doing it is getting bigger than the fear of why I am not doing it…hopefully that makes sense….
    Jesus show me how…

    1. valerie

      “…but I don’t know how and the fear in me for not doing it is getting bigger than the fear of why I am not doing it…hopefully that makes sense….”

      This makes perfect sense to me because I am Right.There.With.You. Feeling SUCH a pull to DO SOMETHING, and not having the slightest clue what to do. Jesus, help us.

  41. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    “I don’t know if it’s pointless to talk to groups of women about sex or parenting or even finding rest in God when BILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE LOST.”

    This.

    This plagues me. I feel a little lost here. I’m wondering if my purpose-driven life was driving toward the wrong purpose. Ya know?

    1. Jennifer

      But some of those ladies being talked to about sex or parenting ARE some of those billions of lost people. We came from a very lost place (Japan) to a very “saved” place (Oklahoma), only to disocver that there are more lost people in our pews than were walking the streets of Okinawa. I don’t think we should discredit legitimate ministry here in the US, even if it’s focusing on secondary things, because God is using those things, too, and more often than not, He’s using them to reach people here in the US who are very, very lost.

      So, Marla and Megan — don’t throw out your entire ministries! 🙂 No, your ministry to moms of America isn’t the same as being in the great needs of Cambodia, but it is STILL legitimate. (And I write this as someone who has struggled A LOT with thinking that this mission field is not nearly as important as the more obvious ones. It is. It really is!)

      1. Bethany Peters

        Amen Jennifer! My thoughts exactly! After I read that quote from Marla I read another blog that was talking about a book called “The Boy Who Changed The World”. It talks about how a small farmer boy named Norman ended up feeding 2 billion starving people from using his knowledge in agriculture when he grew up. But then it went on to say, maybe it wasn’t just Norman, maybe it was Henry, or maybe it was George. The point being like a butterfly effect–we have no idea how one act of obedience will affect the world for Christ. No matter how small or insignificant, through a series of small events, it could CHANGE THE WORLD!

        A woman who starts enjoying sex with her husband could be encouraging her husband and freeing him from sexual sin bondage to really serve the Lord and be devoted to Him wholeheartedly.

        People could have scoffed at my mom for staying home with us kids and focusing “only on prayer” and asked her–“How many people have been saved because of YOU?” When we have NO IDEA what powerful and mighty things God is doing for His Kingdom behind the scenes because of her persistent prayers. Or look at what her grown children have done for the Lord because of her influence.

        When we are faithful and fully surrendered to the Lord, He will tell us exactly what part He wants us to play in saving the world. He’s got it all figured out. There are “big” parts and there are “small” parts and all those parts in between. The point is our willingness to play whatever part He has assigned us.

  42. Kelly

    Can I just say ditto? I don’t seem to have the words and everyone else is articulating it all so well anyway. Maybe for once I’m gonna do that whole think-before-you-speak thing…

  43. Denise

    I can’t wait to write a post, all these I’m reading are kicking my booty! I’m not sure mine will be as profound but I do have stuff to share. On our way home to Ohio so internet is touchy! I’m loving this!

  44. Liz

    Well I read Chapter 1of Radical again and I wish I had something profound to say. I don’t know what it means to, “give up everything to be His disciple”.

    Is it a cop out when I think it is different for different people? I don’t think I am being called to move out of the country, I live in a comfortable home with a great bed and yes I work at a mega church. Is all that a cop out? I don’t think so, I feel God work in my life in mighty ways and in others all the time. I really feel like I am right where He wants me. I pray all the time, Lord don’t let me miss you. I worry (I know I should pray and not worry) that He will put on my heart to go do something and I will be to “embarrassed” to do it. I don’t want to miss Him or miss an opportunity He has for me to serve Him by serving His people.

    Is it a cop out that in our church we have a great program called the PEACE Plan http://saddleback.com/lakeforest/adults/peace/ where we are all encouraged and given an opportunity to serve Him locally or international. Not to “pay and pray” but “go and serve”. Our goal is to not come in as the wealthy Americans but help the local church in these areas to be the one to help. That way they are building relationships and the people will come back to the local church when needed and the wealthy Americans don’t drop in save the world and go home.

    I hate sex trafficking, I hate children being sold and used (yes these people will answer for this, wow that won’t be pretty) but I also hate to see HS girls in our wonderful area being sexually active, or using drugs, looking for love in all the wrong places because no one has told them, They are the daughter of the King and He loves them and has an amazing plan for their life. His will is so good for them, He is the one they can trust, He will never leave them or forsake them (like their dad may have). I want to tell them too, they are lost as well, they need Jesus. There is so much to do here and all over the world. I have to assume if we all do what Christ has called us to do and stay close to Him and listen and do as He guides it will all get done. His plan covers the whole world not just the US or not just out of the US. Okay is this a cop out? I want to be sure I am open and obedient to whatever He calls me to do, I need to be willing to do “whatever it takes”.

    1. valerie

      Liz, I don’t think this is a cop out at all. I think the point (or…one point) from the book is for us to be willing and obedient, instead of satisfied and complacent. You are right, it’s not just about going to the other side of the world, but going to those who need Jesus – even if they’re right in your backyard. Later in the book, David Platt talks about how Jesus chose just a few men, and lived with them, taught them, discipled them, did life with them. That’s what I see you doing with these young HS girls. Like you said – it’s not about swooping in and saving the day then swooping out again. It’s about living daily life with people, caring, helping, loving, and showing them what Jesus is really about.

      1. Kelly

        Liz, I appreciate you saying that. I think it IS different for everyone. And Valerie you summed up what I wanted to say…I just really wanted to post I appreciate both responses. 🙂

    2. Marla Taviano

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, Liz. NO WAY are we all called to move overseas, but YES WAY are we all called to say, “Anything you want, Lord, it’s yours. Anywhere you want me, I’m there. Any sacrifice you want me to make.”

      Anyway.

      Before I write another whole post, just wanted to thank you for this.

    3. Jen Hanson

      My husband and I were talking about this last night. He made the observation that Jesus never seemed to deal with the individuals he spoke to in broad strokes. He went right to the heart of THEIR idols. So for the rich man, Jesus knew he loved his money more that God, so he told him to get rid of that idol. Yet, when the Centurion comes to Jesus and asks for the healing of his servant, Jesus commends the man’s faith. A Centurion would have had many material possessions as well, but Christ doesn’t tell him to sell them… perhaps because the Centurion’s heart was right with God?

      It would seem that, just as God created us all with different strengths and talents, He would create different ways for us to “give up everything” for Him. I think the key point is that it’s a heart issue. If we are truly, honestly asking God to search our hearts and then to show us what it keeping us from Him – He will. But it will likely look different for different people. We just HAVE to be willing to go wherever God asks us to. Which I think it where the main problem lies in American Christianity.

      (Sorry to right a whole post as a reply ;-))

      1. Marla Taviano

        You’re so right, Jen. I have a whole post planned in my head (even longer than what you wrote!) about this same thing. Because honestly? It’s not hard at all for me to give up my possessions. But my TIME? Oh, have mercy.

      2. Bethany Peters

        I completely agree with you Jen! I believe God calls us to surrender it ALL and follow HIS leading (not the conviction of our bloggy friend) as to what to do with what you have (time, money, possessions, etc.).

        And we can’t measure the greatness of our sacrifice by how BIG it is. It’s all about the heart. And only God sees that. One of my prayers for all of us as we read this book is that we will only look inward–not point fingers at other Christians who aren’t as “radical” as we are. We have no idea what is going on in their lives/hearts–God knows and that’s all that matters.

    4. Risha

      Thank you for writing this. You articulated so many of my own thoughts. There are many needs and God will call us to meet different ones, so discipleship will look different from person to person.

    5. Ali

      Oh, Liz! I LOVE that – praying that you won’t miss God. Gosh, I need to pray that prayer much much more often.

      And the go-and-serve program? That sounds awesome. And though there is plenty of room for all of us to pay-and-pray, there is something that God does to OUR hearts when we are the ones who get our hands dirty in our communities. Thanks for reminding me of that.

      Finally, Liz, gosh, I wish everyone could know the Liz I know. The woman who is literally the glue that keeps her family together – opening your home to grandbabies while juggling trials and tribulations that are beyond what I think I could handle. And you do it so faithfully – constantly glorifying God through it all. You are the LIGHT that so many of us need to witness. I am so, so, so thankful that God has you HERE (well, in California – I wish you lived closer!) because I know that He is using you to reach so many of the hurting in this very country.

      Love you.

      1. Liz

        Ali thanks for the kind words. I wish we were closer as well. I would love to be able to physically worship and serve Him together with you, your mom and sister. I guess that will be in heaven.

  45. Katy

    Okay, so I don’t have a blog thingy…But I’ll post a short one here. (-: I have to admit, I was kind of skeptical when I was given the book, but so far the 1st chapter has been really good. For any one who wants to learn more of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, I’d suggest reading “The cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. David Platt quoted a little bit from that book on page 14 of this book, and it’s a GREAT book!!! I’m looking forward to reading how God has/is changing lives.

    To God alone be glory forever!

    1. Sharon K

      Amen Katy, I am glad that you are getting out of it what God wants you to get out of it. I am a little behind, but I am catching up…

  46. Betsy

    Okay so can I just be honest? After reading all of three chapter one posts this morning I had decided at 7:26 am that I was done. Maybe not done with the book but definitely done with the Read Along. I clearly wasn’t “getting it” to the degree that everyone else was and let’s face it. I am 33 yr old mother of 2 who has never even gone on a missions trip. It was obvious that this book was gonna make me weep my guts out and then I would put it done and my life would go on in much the same way.

    Then while in the car line at 7:37 am, I started thinking…… Wouldn’t this just be like the devil to have me compare myself to everyone else and come up short? Why is it that I always feel like I am being graded? Sorry Mrs. Smith, you got a D- in mercy and a C in compassion.

    So here I am at 7:49 am and I am NOT GIVING UP. My post may not inspire anyone else. And I might not pack up and move to Timbuktu by the end of chapter 9. But I need this. I need this for me. So I am looking at it more as a book report. I will turn in every assignment.

    And maybe, just maybe in the process, God will take this feeble heart and make it RADICAL.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Take THAT, you stupid devil! And just so you know, I’m getting those same exact grades in mercy and compassion. I have “selective” compassion and mercy, and it is NOT PRETTY (it’s not radical either).

      Hang in there, girl! You’re blessing me!

    2. Rachelle

      I’m so glad you’re not giving up. I look forward to what God has in store for you! These are hard words and it would be so much easier if this meant checking off a “to do” list and then be done! You DO inspire me to keep on even when I can’t “get it”.

    3. Catalina

      I’m with you Betsy…comfortable life with one husband one kid and one well paying job. I don’t know where this book is leading me and I don’t know that its going to lead me to an orphanage. Or maybe it is and maybe I’m scared of that I don’t know. Or perhaps the changes God is making will me much more subtle than a transatlantic move or a move to the inner city…

    4. Gabe Taviano

      If everyone moved to Timbuktu, I’m not so sure that would be all too radical, LOL. Big props for being honest! The devil should be looking at this read-along and starting to worry. People’s hearts moving in different ways and at different times, all toward the cross.

  47. Ali

    I think I’m a classic example of molding Jesus into my image. Selectively hearing what He wants me to hear. And then taking that and interpreting it into a translation that jives with my level of comfort. It’s offensive and sinful and it’s desperately got to stop.

        1. Liz

          Oh Ali I hear you, I do the same thing. when it is what I want to hear I know it is God when it is not what I want to hear I think it might be indigestion instead. Oh the flesh.

    1. Rhonda

      Molding Jesus to fit into my image of Him and my comfort zone is one of the main reasons I felt the need to join the read-along. My fear is that our churches are encouraging this and we are raising our children to see Him this way. I’ve been uncomfortable with this for a while and now the things I’ve read in “Radical” are on my mind all of the time. I’ve often wondered if it came to the point that I had to risk my life to worship with other Christians would I do it? Do I love Him enough? I like to think that I would but I’m afraid that if it came down to it, I would rationalize that God wouldn’t want me to risk my life to attend worship and leave my children without a mother. The book brings up so many questions to think about. I’m excited to continue on but afraid that I will finish and still not be willing to follow Him completely.

      1. Ali

        Rhonda – I’m with ya! I have to keep remembering that Radical is not the Bible – it’s merely a tool for us to use in pursuing God. Ultimately, I need to be in the Word now more than ever. Checking my motives v. His calling. Better understanding all the ways that I’ve screwed this whole thing up. I’m so thankful that Platt followed God’s lead and wrote this book. Because I really needed this wake-up call.

    2. Jaclyn K

      Sweet Ali, your vulnerability and sincere love for Jesus makes me so thankful you are on this Radical journey with me. I know as a teacher I am always trying to be “politically correct” and your post reminded me that I need not be ashamed of my faith even if that makes me a Jesus Freak. Afterall as Platt said, “We will discover that our meaning is found in community and our life is found in giving ourselves for the sake of others in the church, among the lost, and among the poor.”(21) I love you and thank you for painting beautiful pictures with these poignant words.

    3. Jaclyn K

      I know you were thinking of Iran but how about maybe Warren. I mean we are the “ghetto”? We have lots of people in need and I can think of 2 little ladies and 1 mommy that would love it:)

  48. Natalie

    Oh, Marla, I KNOW! Between Chapter 1 and the Compassion Bloggers last week, I thought my heart might explode. Thanks for hosting this read along- I am very excited about what God is doing and will do through it!

  49. Cheryl Schroeder

    Maaarrllaaa…(great, theatrical moaning and groaning)- Remember me? After Chapter 1, I posted that this book just wasn’t doing anything for me? Well God has opened the drapes and let the sun shine in. While most of the rest of you were talking about adopting children from foreign countries, going on mission trips, and being called to become pastors I was thinking “Hello, where is the AAA farm team cause I am not with these big leaguers”. But God is showing me plainly what work he has for me. And while it’s not Cambodia or adoption or pastoring, it is still a huge thing in my life though it would seem small to some. I guess I’m seeing that everybody has their own “Cambodia” and its just as huge and scary as the next person’s.

    As to question #1 – I have never in my life understood it, but I am getting a glimpse of it now. After 30-odd years I left an extremely legalistic, conservative church (did I mention extremely?) My husband and 2 adult children (still living at home) still attend there. Since I do not attend “the true church” (which to them, there are only 13 in the United States) they believe I am going straight to hell. I was extremely involved at my old church (did I mention extremely?). If it was going on, I was in the middle of it, or a lot of the time running it. Since getting settled in a new church that I love, I have felt paralyzed to get involved because I do not want to upset my family or give their pastor a sermon handed to him on a silver platter. Yeah, I know, its all so confusing. Anyway God is showing me that I must “hate” my family to serve Him. “Hate” in that He Must Come First. This is a little emotional for me. Its probably going to take me all week (or year) to come to terms with it. But I am a journey in progress.

    Question #2 answer – I have been molding what Jesus wants into what I felt I could do, not what He wants me to do. It makes me feel very sad and very small.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Wow, Cheryl. Wow, wow, wow. You’ve got yourself a bona fide, concrete example of hating your family to follow Christ. Thank you SO much for sharing this. I’ll be praying for you!! (starting right this minute)

    2. Liz

      Wow Cheryl I will stop right now and pray for you. I will pray for you to feel Him and His direction in a mighty way. That you will know what to get involved in and when to sit quietly in His arms alone. I will pray that your family see’s Jesus in you. I will pray that He is honored in all that you do. Wow i will pray that this difficult time brings you and your family closer to Him and closer to each other.
      Yes your current mission is huge! But He will never call you to anything that He will not give you the ability to do. Remember God is good all the time! Praying for you

    3. Rachelle

      I love this post, thank you for your showing us your heart. My favorite sentence, “Hello where is the AAA farm team cause I am not with these big leaguers.” That’s where we christians really get “dogged” thinking that if we don’t do something that involves a stage or an airplane then we don’t have work to do…oh my goodness is there ever work to do. It is those we do not see or hear that are carrying the burden of the Gospel in ways that most of us cannot grasp. My favorite was when my 80-year old granny reminded me that she prays for me EVERYday; if that’s not Radical I don’t know what is! I am praying for you and your family.

      1. valerie

        “That’s where we christians really get “dogged” thinking that if we don’t do something that involves a stage or an airplane then we don’t have work to do.”

        I love this! Thanks, Rachelle. This is me. Maybe not thinking I don’t have work to do, but thinking mine isn’t as grand or as important or as great to God as someone else’s that does involve (especially) an airplane. It’s so hard for me to remember (and believe) that as long as I’m obeying what God tells me to do, my job is just as important as someone else’s.

  50. Pingback: Gabe Taviano » The cost of nondiscipleship

  51. Keri

    I am still chewing on chapter one and I don’t know if I can actually write a coherent post on it yet. I could copy and paste your post, substituting my boys for your girls, and it would pretty much sum up how I’m feeling.

    I feel inadequate. Like there’s much to be done and I’m confused about where I fit in. I know we are commanded to Be Still and we are commanded to Go. I am just trying to figure out how those work together.

    I think after Chapter 1…and 2….and 3, my prayer is that I don’t let myself get in the way of whatever God wants me to do to further his kingdom.

    Have I mentioned to you that it’s rocking my world? Only 2 or 3 times? It is the shake-up I’ve needed for a long, long time.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Oh, Keri. I totally get the tension between “be still” and “go.” Last night I was sitting on my bed, determined to just be still before God. It lasted about 40 seconds before I jumped up to go see what else I had lying around the house that I could sell. (pathetic)

  52. Jen Hanson

    I’m not gonna lie, I breathed a little sigh of relief that even you, after reading the whole book three times, still have so many questions. It makes me feel a little better somehow as I’m baffled by just reading the first chapter twice. What on earth I’m going to do with the rest of the book, I can’t even imagine. Let me rephrase that – what God could do with my life as I read through the rest of this book, I can’t even imagine. I hope, I hope, I hope that I have the faith to let Him change me.

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